Please, Don't Gatekeep Your Fandom

Please, Don't Gatekeep Your Fandom

It just makes you look like an asshole.
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Being a millennial means having a lot of access to a world of entertainment that is wildly different from the previous generation's books, shows and movies. If I hear about a show that someone really likes and I happen to want to watch it because it has dragons, zombies and thrones made of swords and all of that good stuff, then all I need to do is pull it up on the web, pay the subscription fee, and binge-watch my heart out.

This is something anyone can do with just about any show that has ever existed in popular culture. The same goes for books and audiobooks as e-books have become way more accessible. This phenomenon contributes largely to fandoms of particular franchises, which grow to epic proportions every single day. Though this sounds like a great way to have more things in common with those around us, it also prompts some toxic behaviors.

When someone "gatekeeps" a fandom, it means that they act adversely against a person who is new to the fandom of the franchise, simply because they are new to it. I am sure that most of us have felt this nasty impulse.

I mean, remember that one time you discovered that awesome song and then three months later it got blasted everywhere on the radio? You were so into this song and it was special to you, and now everyone's heard it so it's no longer your precious hidden gem. Anytime someone brings it up, you might say something like "Oh, I remember hearing that song for the first time months before it ever came out on the radio," as if this elevates you above anyone else who loves that song.

A song is one thing, but this occurs way more often when large commercial fandoms are involved. I see it all the time with fandoms that involve books turned into movies. Newcomers to the fandom are drawn into the fictional universes by beautiful, elaborate movies. Then, they inevitably run into some OG veteran fans who, you can imagine, are huddled together chanting "Oh, you should read the book!" as though there's a secret initiation you missed four years ago when the book came out.

Undoubtedly, if you've been on the dealing side of gatekeeping, then you've also been on the receiving side, too. It definitely happened to me in high school when I started to watch the "Harry Potter" movies and wanted to talk to some close friends about them. There was one person in particular who told me that I wouldn't be a real fan until I read the books, too. Of course, this made me feel horrible; like I wasn't allowed to buy in unless I had all of this time to spare to read the books. Honestly, I was just thinking that something I saw was really cool. I've started to notice that the more put-downs I received, the less I wanted to read the original content. That's why I still haven't touched a "Harry Potter" or "Game of Thrones" book. They remind me too much of the annoying, die-hard fans.

So, it's important that we are inclusive of everyone and their journey in exploring the new fandoms that are rapidly expanding today. Honestly, when you gatekeep, you don't seem like a wise sage of your fandom, but rather just an asshat. So please, just play nice. Try recommending more content (don't force it down people's throats) or just respect what they like about the fandom. It doesn't have to become a measure of ego every time your favorite fandom comes up. Let's just all get along and be happier for it.


Cover Image Credit: Amazon News

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What Your Hogwarts House Says About You

Get yourself sorted and find out where you belong in the world of witchcraft and wizardry.
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Sorting at Hogwarts is a big deal. Being sorted into a house is essentially being placed into a family while you are away from home learning about witchcraft and wizardry. Your house is made up of the people you will live with, go to classes with, play Quidditch with and everything in between. You basically spend 24/7 with them. Your Hogwarts house is your home away from home.

When you get sorted into a house, it is based on your personality traits. The people in your house are typically like-minded people who display the same characteristics as you.

When you’re a first year at Hogwarts, the minute you set foot in the castle you are swept into the Great Hall to have the ancient Sorting Hat placed on your head. This Sorting Hat decides which “family” you’ll be spending your seven years with.

For some, it is very obvious which house they will be in, due to certain personality traits they possess. For others, they may exemplify traits that fit a multitude of houses and are uncertain where they may end up.

To find out where you belong, you can take the official "Harry Potter" Sorting Hat quiz at Pottermore.com. For all you muggles out there, these are the characteristics that the houses possess and what your house says about you:

Gryffindor: The house of the brave, loyal, courageous, adventurous, daring and chivalrous. Those who stand up for others are typically Gryffindors. Brave-hearted is the most well-known Gryffindor characteristic, and Gryffindors are also known for having a lot of nerve.

Gryffindors are people who hold a multitude of qualities alongside the ones listed, making them a very well-rounded house. People who are Gryffindors are often people who could fit nicely into another house but choose to tell the sorting hat they want Gryffindor (there's that bravery). "Do what is right" is the motto Gryffindors go by.

Being a Gryffindor means that you're probably the adventurous and courageous friend, and you are usually known for doing what is right.

Ravenclaw: The house is known for their wisdom, intelligence, creativity, cleverness and knowledge. Those who value brains over brawn can be found here. Ravenclaws often tend to be quite quirky as well. "Do what is wise" is the motto they strive to follow.

Though Ravenclaws can be know-it-alls sometimes, they most likely do know what the wisest decision is.

If you are known for being the quirky friend, the smartest in the group or just great at making wise decisions, you're definitely a Ravenclaw.

Hufflepuff: This house values hard work, dedication, fair play, patience, and loyalty. Hufflepuff’s are known for being just and true. "Do what is nice" is their motto.

Hufflepuff is known as the “nice house” and believes strongly in sparing peoples feelings and being kind. This is not to say that Hufflepuffs aren't smart or courageous. Hufflepuffs just enjoy making others happy and tend to be more patient towards people.

If you ever find that you are too nice for your own good and cannot bear to hurt someone’s feelings, congratulations, you are a Hufflepuff.

Slytherin: This is the house of the cunning, prideful, resourceful, ambitious, intelligent, and determined. Slytherin's love to be in charge and crave leadership. "Do what is necessary" is the motto of this house.

Slytherin is a fairly well-rounded house, similar to the other houses. They are loyal to those that are loyal to them just as Gryffindors are and are intelligent as Ravenclaws.

Slytherin house as a whole is not evil, despite how many dark wizards come out of this house. That is merely based on the choices of those wizards (so if your friend is a Slytherin, don’t judge, it doesn’t mean they are mean people). Slytherins do, however, have a tendency to be arrogant or prideful. This is most likely due to the fact that everyone in Slytherin is exceedingly proud to be there.

What Hogwarts house you’re in says a lot about the person you are, the traits you possess and how you may act in some situations. But in the end, your house is really just your home that is always there for you. Always.


Cover Image Credit: Warner Bros Pictures

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How Art Can Help You Take Care Of Yourself

It's time to go on a date with yourself.

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Art is a quintessential part of the human experience: it has something that has been present in human culture beginning from prehistoric times, from when human consciousness first entered the world. It is also something that transcends definition and intertwines with our play of life and the meaning of humanity. Art is an expression of feeling in its most ethereal meaning and "for fun" at its most basic.

Personally, as an Art History minor, art has been a dimension of life for me that I have explored deeply and holds a lot of meaning. Painting is a huge outlet and way to deal with stress for me, and appreciating fine art teaches me about the aspect of history and how all of history is tied together throughout paintings, sculptures, and photographs. It helps me center myself and remind me of the place I hold in this world and the curious aspect personal experience of history. However, art doesn't need to be the stereotypical idea of art: it can be expressed through dance, the learning of a new language, or the coloring of mandalas to ease stress.

The exploration of art and the artistic side of human nature is something that everyone has in them: it's written in our psychology. We have an entire side of our brain that is inclined toward feeling and abstract interpretation, so it's natural to assume that emotion and expression of art are intrinsically intertwined. Thus, experiencing art is a way to personally develop yourself, and can be an unfound way of finding out things about yourself.

Different ways to explore your artistic side can be very easy: as easy as 3rd-grade coloring books, coloring mandalas, or finger-painting. Recently, I participated in a lantern festival and being able to paint a small lantern was an amazing outlet from a stress-filled week and allowed me to express myself through something besides just communication. Writing is also another good way to express emotion and create art: many books are just art pieces, and can be another way to further develop yourself. Additionally, other small fun things like carving pumpkins (spooky season!) or even curating the perfect Instagram profile can be another way to express yourself.

Appreciating the small things in your life as art and self-expression help put you more in touch with yourself, which is easy to lose throughout the mundane cycles of college, work, and life in general. Keeping yourself in harmony and balance might seem like an earthy-crunchy concept, but self-care and self-love are vital in keeping the rest of your life ordered. Being mindful of yourself and your goals is something that I have always have had difficulty with, but working toward learning more about yourself is taking the first step.

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